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floris thirion

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non-linear food production in the agri-urban

The remnants of Upington’s industrial-minded past, along with apartheid spatial planning, is made clear through its heavily segregated urban fabric, whilst the exclusivity of the town’s clearly defined urban centre is underscored by its underutilized railway. The theoretical underpinning of my dissertation is based on regenerative closed-loop principles, that seek to bridge this divide by implementing new-ruralist ideologies, and thoughtful placemaking that speaks to regional context.

Many people that reside on the northern side of the railway, who can’t afford basic transport, are forced to trek across the obstructing Transnet infrastructure and derelict stadium parking lot in order to gain access to basic amenities from within the CBD.

I explore ways to bridge this divide through establishing new and existing connections. My design seeks to materialise a town square that celebrates the town’s agricultural heritage by means of food production & food consumption. As modern cities developed to how we know them today, urban space dedicated to food production grew smaller, whilst urban space dedicated to food consumption expanded. And as the physical distance between producer and consumer increased, so too did the psychological gap, to the point where food became an abstract commodity, detached from the local or regional. The evolution of food markets, as architectural and merchandising spaces, played an important role in this transition. My scheme aims to adress the inherent issues pertaining to architecture and food- creating places where locally sourced, healthy produce can be shared and enjoyed.

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